Baseball, apple pie, ice cream parlors, Route 66, Norman Rockwell, Babe Ruth, Coca Cola, and Old Glory: all things we would identify and say are typical American icons. This month I thought it would be fun to immerse ourselves in some of the things that our nation loves, to really celebrate a country that offers us so many freedoms. I know we are only days shy of the 4th of July and, for most of us, once that day passes and the fireworks have been set off we rarely pick up those things that remind us of our freedom again until Labor Day. I hope that this month will be different for you and that you take time to linger in some of those things that we would describe as Americana.
Music & Poetry
This month we will be listening to the National March of the United States of America, Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa. Just listening to this has brought me to tears multiple times this month. I’m a little softie when it comes to American history, but I must admit that I never really knew the words to this song. So, this month we are dedicating some time to listening and learning this tune.
Not only is this tune the Official March of the United States it is also John Philip Sousa’s most famous composition. Sousa grew up in Washington D.C. during the Civil War. As a kid he enjoyed listening to the military bands that would march along the streets of Washington. Later he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Band. He wrote this composition on his way home from a trip to Europe when he found out that his band manager had died a few days earlier. He said the song was about the feeling of coming home to America and how in a foreign country the sight of the Stars and Stripes seems the most glorious in the world.
Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed. – Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell is easily identified as one of America’s most recognized artists. Browsing through his art you will easily see a laid back, almost silly depiction of American life. I love that he captures so much of what we idealize America to be, especially in the ’40’s, ’50’s, and ’60’s. It only seemed fitting that his work be included in this months morning time bundle.
If you would like to learn more about Norman Rockwell you can visit the Norman Rockwell Museum site or watch this video by Biography.com (I have this on my list todo, but I haven’t previewed it yet. Please use your own judgement).
This months scripture is set to remind us that it is God who gives strength and power. We do not know why he places certain people as kings, rulers, and presidents but we can take comfort in knowing that He does. Ultimately, though, the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, this is His kingdom. Reminding ourselves, and our children, that He is above all things brings comfort and protection, even on the darkest days.
In summertime we often find ourselves drawn to the water. Creeks, rivers, streams, and beaches become our refreshing and faithful friend. One of my first recollections of the crayfish (or the Crawdad, as we call it in Arkansas) was when I was a young girl. We were having a 4th of July picnic with church friends. Their home was situated on Big Sugar, one of the creeks that my kids and I still enjoy visiting. We spent the evening turning over rocks and catching crawdads. We kept them in pails until the evening was over and then released them just as we were about to head home for the evening. There really was something special about that evening, for it forever etched itself in my memory.
This month we will be studying the Crayfish, using The Handbook of Nature Study as our guide. If you are not landlocked like we are and have the ability to study Lobster, their distant cousin, you should be able to easily adapted this study to them. Read through the first portion of the Crayfish section to familiarize yourself with all the intricacies of the crayfish and then use the portion titled “Lesson” with your children. If you do not have The Handbook of Nature Study, I have included some bullet points on the downlaod.
For these observations you will need:
- A Crayfish
- A 2 Qt. Mason Jar
- Coarse Gravel
For the civics portion we will learn the Pledge of Allegiance this month. I know that in some homeschool environments the Pledge of Allegiance is recited daily, though this is not the case for us. My children already know the Pledge and recite it often in their AWANA club and my son has learned a great deal about treating the American flag with respect through the Civil Air Patrol so much of this will be repetitive to us to us. This month we will be taking time to dissect what these words mean. Here are some of the topics we will discuss:
- What does it mean to pledge allegiance to something?
- What is a republic?
- What does “one nation under God” mean? How do we see that played out in our country? What are some ways we do not see that modeled in our country?
- What does it mean that we are indivisible?
- What is liberty and justice? How do we all experience those benefits?
As you can see, there is a lot to ponder aside from just learning the words.
I’m so sorry you guys, I hope you enjoy time in the kitchen because this tends to be where I like to be. There is nothing quite as American as homemade ice cream so this month we are going to give it a shot. To be completely honest, this bowl of ice cream you see in the pictures is not homemade. It is straight out of a Blue Bell cardboard container. But, it’s summer….and July so I’m completely o.k. with ice cream on more than one occasion.
We currently do not own an Ice Cream Maker so I browsed Pinterest for a bit in hopes that I could find an Ice Cream Recipe that does not require one. This recipe from Taste of Home is the one I will be using. Without an automatic maker it does appear that there is a little more work involved, so I have this one on standby, just in case.
- The book that is in most of my pictures is All Those Secrets of the World by Jane Yolen
- The 4th of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh
- America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates
- The Story of America’s Birthday by Patricia Pingry (sweet board book)
Thank you so much for using these Morning Time Bundles. I am so thankful for you! If you happen to share these on social media I would love it if you would tag me so that I can see how your time together unfolds.
Happy 4th of July, friends. I hope your kickoff to summer is fantastic!